Hello to ENVS 160, Intro to Environmental Studies! You will use this site to document your work so that you can readily share it with others. Here are some pointers for you.
Account & profile
Creating an account
Students, if you have not yet used our envs.lclark.edu site, we will create an account for you. Your login name will be your LC email prefix, and we will use your LC email address. You will receive a confirmation email with a link to set your password. Make sure to save your password so you don’t forget it!
Editing your profile
Once you’ve logged in (available on the footer of each page), edit your profile via the admin menu at upper right or Profile on your dashboard menu at left.
- Just as with the LC website, your display name is your first and last name, which web visitors can see. Please keep your display name as is unless you need to change your first or last name.
- An avatar (typically an image of you) will personalize your posts and portfolio; this will also be displayed publicly. Here are your avatar options:
- If you have a Gravatar associated with your LC email, it will be displayed on all your envs.lclark.edu sites. This is the easiest solution, and there are advantages to having a Gravatar, but you do need a (free) WordPress.com account to get one.
- Otherwise, scroll to Avatar at the bottom of your edit profile screen, where you can upload an avatar. (This must be done separately for each envs.lclark.edu site.)
- Other profile information will only be available to logged in users (i.e., fellow ENVS students, staff, and instructors), or if you indicate it’s okay to share publicly (see Portfolios below):
- Biographical info: A concise paragraph summarizing your background and interests in ENVS.
- Website: If you have your own DS or other professional site, enter its URL here.
- There are other things you can edit on your profile, such as the default dashboard color scheme. If questions, feel free to email ENVS.
Writing in this digital medium for public communication is an important professional skill you will benefit from in future. All you have learned to date about good writing (e.g., these Writing Center pointers and ENVS style guidelines) are applicable, but there are new things to learn as well, such as these LC guidelines on writing for the web, and these ENVS digital style pointers.
You’ll primarily do your digital scholarship on this site via posts using the new WP block editor; here is a (silly) sample post. The content of these posts will be specified by your instructor, but in each instance make sure to do the following (and feel free to practice using the “Practice posts” category):
- Create a compelling title. Web visitors will typically see your post alongside others. Will they click on it? Well, would you click on a title like “Week 3 Post” or “Annotated Bibliography”?? You probably wouldn’t. Come up with a compelling title, enter it in Headline Style Capitalization, and you’re off to a good start.
- Add a (legal, full-width) featured image. The featured image is what shows up in the banner of your post, and the background of your post summary when viewed alongside others. Choose or upload a featured image in the Document block at right. Make sure it’s legal!: see e.g. Google’s usage rights information when you do a search, or use one of your own great photos. Also make sure it will work as a full-width image: typically this means it needs to be a minimum of about 1200 pixels left to right.
- Check the correct category. All posts are organized on this site via categories, as they can be arranged hierarchically; make sure to check the right one as specified by your instructor. (We will collectively discuss use of tags: unless we mutually agree on them, do not use as they must be shared among us to be worthwhile.)
- Include your co-authors. This site has a special plugin that allows multiple users to edit the same post (albeit not simultaneously); just go to the Authors section of the Document pane at right to add them.
- Make the most of this digital medium. When it comes to content, here are a few pointers to consider:
- Create vertical space in your text—endlessly long paragraphs don’t work well online. Split long paragraphs into shorter ones to convey your message in a punchier, more visually readable manner. Or, organize your text into lists (numbered or bulleted) via the block editor to make them look great.
- Use section headers—and potentially a TOC block. It’s also a good idea with longer posts to include section headings (using genuine Heading styles, not just e.g. bold text) so the reader can easily navigate your text. There is a cool table of contents block you can add at the beginning so readers can readily navigate to each section!…see below.
- Remember hyperlinks—it’s the web, after all! Link to related content or resources you or others have produced. It’s good web practice to link to content on this site in the same tab, but content on other sites in a new tab. Never never include a raw URL; always tie it to a word or phrase as the link.
- Consider adding blocks—there are lots you can use on this site, including all Ultimate AddOns blocks (click Blocks). A few we suggest include Table of Contents (if a long post), Info Box (to visually summarize an important point), Advanced Columns (to create side by side content), or Sections (to demarcate sections of your posts). Then you’ll be using the Paragraph, Heading, List, and/or Image WP blocks all the time.
- Consider embeds—this is content from another site (e.g., a YouTube video or GoogleDoc) that is displayed on this site. The easiest way to do this is via standard WP embeds and the extended EmbedPress blocks. You can also use the Advanced Iframe block if your embed is not supported by these options.
- …and if the above gets distracting?? One potential problem is that the WP block editor has too many options! There are ways to simplify it. Also, via Options (bottom of three dot menu at right) you can choose to show/hide boxes as desired.
As you can see, you have lots of opportunities when you write in this digital medium! But some of the items above are so important—and so easy for WP to check—that we have included them in a special Checklist you’ll see on the Document pane at right when editing a post. They include:
- The correct category. WP can’t really check for that, but it does verify that you’ve checked a category. If you save your draft without doing so, WP will automatically assign your post to a default category, which may or may not be the correct one.
- A minimum word count. Your instructor will specify this. This in itself is an important writing skill: how do you convey substantive content in a manner longer than a tweet-like soundbite, but much shorter (and likely more readable) than a full-on term paper?
- A featured image—so easy to forget. Look at the specifications above for guidance.
- “We’ve received publish approval“—a box you yourself check when you have gotten the green light to publish your post. (You’ll need to check this box in the Document pane before you try to publish your post.)
This site compiles a public portfolio of all posts for which you are listed as (co-)author. In addition to your posts, the portfolio will display your own summary of the course, and (similar to the Lewis & Clark website) your name and avatar.
It is up to you to decide whether publicly to share additional information on the portfolio, including your email address, a biographical summary, and a link to any external website you maintain; this information might be helpful if you are sharing your portfolio with prospective schools, employers, etc.
Visitors to the site can access your portfolio by clicking on the author name(s) to the upper right of every post; or, via the Contributors page. You can also share your portfolio for this course via the following URL: https://envs.lclark.edu/160/author/[yourusernamehere].
To set up your portfolio, you’ll need to do some simple things on your user profile and author profile (they’re related but not the same).
- User profile: You can access your user profile via Edit Profile in the upper right admin bar, or Users > Profile. Your user profile information is shared across all envs.lclark.edu sites, with the exception of your avatar. [If any info below is not correctly displaying on your portfolio, contact ENVS and we’ll re-sync.]
- Display name (first and last). This was entered when you were uploaded to the site. If you change your name, feel free to change your display name, but please retain your first and last name as display name to make it look official.
- Avatar. See “Editing your profile” above to set up your avatar.
- You can choose, via your author profile, whether to share the below user profile fields. If not, this information will only be shared with fellow students (i.e., logged in users), so we ask you to complete it for their benefit. For information on these fields, see “Editing your profile” above.
- Email address
- Biographical info
- Author profile: You can access your author profile via Authors > Authors, then find your own profile and click Edit. A visual guide to these steps is here.
- Share information. Do you want to share your bio, email, and website information with public (non-logged in) viewers? Enter Yes to share this information with everyone who visits the site, or No (or keep blank) if not.
- Course summary. In one paragraph, please summarize ENVS 160 in your own words, as well as what you have accomplished/gained via 160, all written for a general public audience. If you compose this summary elsewhere, please remove GoogleDoc/Word HTML formatting via sites such as www.gdoctohtml.com. Do not use formatting such as headers, though you may link to course-related or your own resources as you wish.
- Other fields. We may possibly add author profile fields for you to link to additional ENVS 160 outcomes; if so, we’ll provide guidance on how to complete them.
- Important!: do not edit the Name field, as any edits you put here will be erased the next time we sync Display Name information from all user profiles. If you wish to edit your display name, do so via your user profile.
Problems with your portfolio?:
- As noted above, if any user profile info is not correctly displaying on your portfolio, contact ENVS and we’ll re-sync.
- If one or more posts are not appearing on your profile, make sure you are listed as a co-author!…see post guidelines above.
Using your own site
Would you like to use your own DS site in addition to this group course site? Then read on!
First, remember that this site will automatically accumulate your work onto a portfolio you can link to from your own site. This is the easiest thing and requires no extra work! In addition to linking to it, your portfolio automatically generates an RSS feed (just add /feed/ to the end of your author archive link), and you should be able to display an RSS feed of your 160 posts on your own DS site.
Second, remember that your user profile has a Website field where you can enter the URL of your own DS site. This way viewers of your 160 profile can quickly click to go to your DS site.
If, however, you wish to have your posts appear on both sites, here are your options:
- See the RSS feed option above. This doesn’t actually create posts on your individual DS site, but you can at least display them.
- If your site is hosted (i.e., you have full WP admin control and can install plugins)
- The most powerful alternative is Distributor, which potentially syncs your posts between both sites!
- Another alternative is Page Links To. You’d do your post on this course site, then do a Page Links To post on your own site. Use the same title and featured image, but make the post simply link to the post on this site. Then your post will show up on any post archive you have on your site, but when someone clicks on it they will be directed to your post on the group site.
- If your site is on WP.com (i.e., you don’t have full WP admin control and cannot install plugins), or on a non-WP platform:
- You won’t be able to use the two plugin options above. But you can always link to an individual post on this site or to your author page.